As an avid snowboarder, surfing should come natural to me. As an avid snowboarder, I didn’t know what the hell I was thinking.
I found myself on Oahu one morning and one of my besties was visiting me from Bend, Oregon for the weekend. As we were contemplating what adventure we would run with today, I referred to a Groupon I saw for Moku Hawaii. The next statement she uttered will make it clear as to why I love her: OKAY!
We ventured to the shop, which was a 10 minute walk from my hotel. I was feeling a little BA thinking that I would be a surfing wahine by the end of the session. I mean, I snowboarded, I had a strong core from doing yoga, I’m only 5’2″ so my center of gravity was low, and as long as I could envision my success, I could do it. This was going to be easy peasy lemon breezy.
Kamalu Rosa was our instructor and it was really hard to follow his initial instructions because his rock hard abs were talking over him, the whole time. It was a blessing when he finally put a rash guard on. Kamalu told us about how he was in a movie that was filmed locally and I promptly exclaimed, “OMG, you were one of the surfers from Forgetting Sarah Marshall!” He looked at me like I was mentally challenged, or disturbed. Either way, I was wrong and he had played Eddie Aikau for an ESPN documentary celebrating the local boy done good and his heroic demise.
As we waded out into the slick sunscreen mixed waters that was Waikiki, we jumped on our longboards and started to paddle out. I appreciate longboards being noob friendly, but I was having such a hard time paddling out with my T-Rex arms! I would keep bearing left and have to slide my body over to the right side to straighten out my path. Amazon woman, aka my bestie, who was not afflicted with T-Rex Arm Syndrome, had no issues reaching Kamalu in a timely manner. As the waves crashed against me and I tried to duck dive like I’ve seen seasoned surfers do, I wasn’t very successful and drank 120% of my weight in salt water. When I finally got there, we were probably about 10 minutes in and I was already tired.
Kamalu was an excellent instructor, now that he was wearing a rash guard and we could hear him over his abs supreme. However, I quickly discovered that snowboarding and surfing are two different beasts. While the Yeti welcomed my hill bombing ways in the mountains, Poseidon tried to drown my ass with everything he had!
Eventually, I got comfortable enough where I could awkwardly ride some waves all the way in. I quickly put a stop to that after I started to wish I had a jet ski tow from the beach back to Kamalu and just dumped it intentionally when I was at a half way point. I had gotten so comfortable, Kamalu signaled me to do a switch with my feet. Imagine your left foot in front with your right foot in back and you’re in a standing straddle. Now, jump up and switch your feet landing it like a gymnast’s 10 point pin. Got it? Now imagine seeing someone attempt this, but slip off their board and land directly on their chin jarring their jaw so hard you wonder if they had just dislocated their lower mandible? Would you have a look of utter horror and genuine concern on your face? Kamalu did. Not one to make others worry, I yelled out that I was okay while yawning and working my chin to pop my jaw back into place and thinking, “I’m fucked”. I felt a pop and I was in so much pain, like a bolt of lightning had struck me, it hurt worse than the initial failed landing. However, after I looked over and saw how much fun my bestie was having, I was adamant I wasn’t ruining the day with my injury. So, I remained mum and took a crapload of 500mg ibuprofen along with quite a few ‘stiff ones’ later. We ended the session with my bestie and I surfing back in together. Side by side amid exclamations of “I’m sorry“, “I don’t want to fall on you“, and “I can’t get off your board!”
For me, learning to surf was very challenging. I do love challenges, however. After my friend flew back to Oregon, I went and rented a longboard from Moku the following weekend. I sucked. My last weekend there, I rented a board again and actually caught a couple waves the two hours I was out there. I also met some really cool people while hanging 10 and even ran into Kamalu. He couldn’t express his joy enough at seeing me out there and trying. I couldn’t express how much he inspired me to keep going and not say, “Brah, I pau already!”
What challenges have you faced in trying something new? I would love to hear your experiences!
Much love and Aloha,
your noob surfer wahine clueless wanderer